Golf: Stacy Lewis ends three years of winless frustration in a spectacular way, capturing the Cambia Portland Classic after pledging to give all her winnings to hurricane relief in Houston.
By Jeff Shain, PSN managing editor
- Golf’s finest story of 2017 may have emerged from one of the LPGA’s smallest stops, as Stacy Lewis maxed out her pledge to donate her entire winnings in Portland to hurricane relief in her Houston home. It was Lewis’ first win since June 2014, too, and her feat was sweetened by a matching donation from one of her sponsors and a flat $1 million from another. The two-time LPGA player of the year was far from the only golfer striving to raise money for hurricane relief, with fellow Houstonian Chris Stroud pledging $10,000 plus 10 percent of his take at last week’s FedExCup playoff stop in Boston. Several other PGA Tour pros pledged $1,000 for each birdie made for the rest of the playoffs and $2,000 for every eagle. Masters champion Sergio Garcia, newly married to a Texan, raised his stake to $2,000 per birdie and $5,000 per eagle.
- Kevin Chappell grabbed the final automatic berth on the U.S. Presidents Cup roster – by the slimmest of margins. The razor-thin edge over Charley Hoffman: 0.073 of a point. Chappell finished two shots ahead of Hoffman at the Dell Technologies Championship, getting additional help when Russell Henley bogeyed his final two holes. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas finished 1-2-3 in the final standings; the International top three is Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day and Adam Scott. Captain’s picks will be announced Wednesday night.
- Boston’s future as a FedExCup playoff venue is in limbo as the PGA Tour works on a new-look schedule for 2019, including a possible reduction from four playoff events to three. The schedule has one more year under its current format, which places the Dell Technologies Championship as the second postseason event. But with other early playoff stops in New York and Chicago, Boston could be the odd site out in a reduction to three playoff stages. Spieth told reporters it’s his understanding that no decision is imminent.
- Tiger Woods has a golf club in his hands again, posting an Instagram video last week of him now chipping balls near his South Florida home. Woods underwent back fusion surgery in April, the fourth procedure on his balky back in the past three years. The winner of 14 majors has been out of competition since February, though he made headlines with a DUI arrest and subsequent stint to overcome a dependency on painkillers and sleep aids.
LPGA TOUR: Indy Women in Tech Championship
Site: Brickyard Crossing GC, Indianapolis
- Defending champion: The LPGA returns to Indianapolis for the first time in 29 years, since the old Mayflower Classic ended an eight-year run in the city.
- Last week: Stacy Lewis ended a personal three-year dry spell in storybook fashion, winning the Cambia Portland Classic days after pledging her earnings to hurricane relief at home. Rounds of 64-65 helped stake Lewis to a three-shot lead entering Sunday, needing all the cushion she could to hold off In Gee Chun’s late charge. Lewis had endured 12 runner-up finishes since her last win.
- Tour talk: Lewis and world No.3 Lexi Thompson top the roster for the final tuneup before its final major at next week’s Evian Championship. Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson give the field two more top-10 entrants. … After Indianapolis, the only U.S. event remaining is the CME Group Titleholders to end the year in Florida. The Evian Championship is followed by seven stops on the Pacific Rim.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30-3:30 p.m.).
EUROPEAN TOUR: Omega European Masters
Site: Crans-sur-Sierre CC, Crans Montana, Switzerland
- Defending champion: Sweden’s Alex Noren notched his third victory of a breakout 2016, outlasting Scott Hend in a playoff. Hend made up a two-shot deficit to Noren down the stretch, but saw his tee shot in the playoff rattle around in the trees and barely cleared a water hazard with his second shot.
- Last week: South Africa’s Haydn Porteous won the D+D Real Czech Masters for his second European Tour victory, overtaking Lee Slattery with a closing 69 to finish two strokes clear. Porteous didn’t have a top-10 finish in 2017 until two weeks ago, but now has jumped 257 spots in the rankings.
- Tour talk: Noren, also the 2012 champion, will be challenged by a solid roster that includes a pair of former world No.1s in Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. … Westwood will tee it up for his 500th European Tour start, becoming the fourth man this year to reach the milestone. Thomas Bjorn did it last, just two weeks ago. … Crans-sur-Sierre has been a European Tour venue every year since 1972.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-noon; Sunday, noon-2 p.m.).
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Japan Airlines Championship
Site: Narita GC, Narita, Japan
- Defending champion: The tournament not only makes its debut on the Champions schedule, but is the first event in Japan to be sanctioned under the PGA Tour’s umbrella.
- Last week: Scott McCarron notched his fourth victory of the season, opening the Shaw Charity Classic with rounds of 63-64 and holding off Miguel Angel Jimenez on the final day. McCarron now has won three of his past six starts; four wins overall match Bernhard Langer for most on tour this year.
- Tour talk: With Langer not making the trans-Pacific excursion, McCarron has a chance to slide past the 2017 triple major winner for the overall lead in victories. … Colin Montgomerie, Tom Watson and John Daly also highlight the marquee at Narita GC. … Khoki Idoki, Senior Players Championship winner in 2013, heads a list of seven Japanese players to tee it up via special invitations.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-3 a.m.).
PGA TOUR: Idle
Next up: BMW Championship, Sept. 14-17, Lake Forest, Ill.
- Tour talk: By adding a FedExCup playoff victory to the PGA Championship and three other wins, Justin Thomas might have done everything but notify the engraver about Player of the Year honors. There’s only one way for Dustin Johnson or Jordan Spieth to affect that outcome – capture the FedExCup title. … Adam Scott’s bid for an extended playoff run is over, missing the cut in Boston after hustling back to tee it up following the birth of his second child. He finished 79th in points.
WEB.COM TOUR FINALS: Idle
Next up: Albertsons Boise Open, Sept. 14-17, Hillcrest CC, Boise, Idaho
- Tour talk: Peter Uihlein locked up a PGA Tour card with a finishing flourish at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, matching the week’s best round with a 65 to chase down Ryan Armour. The former U.S. Amateur champ was the only man to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. … Armour and third-place Tom Lovelady also can plan on PGA Tour status next season. … Among the 25 men to earn PGA Tour cards via last year’s Finals, six won on the big tour in 2016-17.